On Tuesday, having exhausted my list of excuses, I headed to the club’s track session. It’s a session that I know is going to hurt; this makes getting out the door after a long day at work very difficult! However, I also know that afterwards, despite the pain, I always feel good for making the effort to go.
After a four lap warm up where we varied our pace and effort, we began the main session. This was a pyramid on the whistle starting at 15 seconds and up to 75 seconds in 15 second increments with one minutes rest between each hard effort. I have never known before just how long 15 seconds can be, or how quickly a minute can pass as you attempt to get your breathing and heart rate under control. Once we’d reached the top of the pyramid, it was a relief to know that the intense intervals would be getting shorter. I couldn’t believe it when the coach said that we’d now repeat the pyramid! I was exhausted already! Fortunately, I managed to complete the session and did feel good for it.
On Saturday, I attended Carlisle parkrun for the first time in ages. I was rather nervous for some strange reason. Focusing on distance rather than speed this year, I thought I’d be quite a bit slower than the 25:16 that I’d achieved on my last attempt. However, it would give me a benchmark as to where I am now.
Initially, it was rather chilly and I was regretting my choice of vest. As the starting horn sounded and we set off, I quickly warmed up. Within the first few hundred metres, I was already questioning why I was doing this. Why was I torturing myself again?! As we hit the first incline, a long, energy sapping drag, I noticed my cousin, Ali, up ahead; I hadn’t realised she was there today! I kept plugging away on that first lap and the second lap was soon upon me. This seemed to last forever as my legs were beginning to protest and I wondered whether they’d last another lap! It had really heated up too and I was properly sweating! Torture! I had to really dig deep for the third lap. I felt I had nothing left but I really wanted to get as close to my PB as possible so I just kept on putting one foot in front of the other. My lungs felt like they were going to burst and my quads were screaming. As I turned for the final little climb to the finish, I found a little bit of extra energy from somewhere and picked up the pace. After all, I told myself, the faster I go, the quicker the finish will come and the pain will be over! Crossing the line I was delighted to find I’d smashed my PB! My Garmin read 24:38 – my first ever sub-25 minute 5k! A time I’ve always dreamed of being able to achieve!
Those 24:38 minutes of pain was worth it for the feeling of complete elation (and disbelief!). This is why I run! Nothing beats that feeling when you push yourself out of your comfort zone and achieve something you didn’t believe you were capable of!
The following day saw the 31st running of the Great Cumbrian Run. I’d decided in August that I wouldn’t be doing the run this year, but I had signed up for the Family Fun Run with my girls and I’d be there to support the other half as he took part in his first Cumbrian Run.
After Tristan collected his chip, we headed down to the Sheepmount and Thea enthusiastically took part in the warm up! At 9am, we were off on the 1.5 mile route round Bitts Park. Shannon and Erin kept running off ahead and then coming back to me as I struggled along with Thea bouncing on my shoulders. As we neared the stadium, I took Thea off my shoulders and she ran the rest of the way on the track, the girls had left me in their dust and, as we neared the finish line, Thea sprinted off ahead! All the girls loved it and were very pleased with the medals they were rewarded with!
We spent the next hour and a half hanging around Carlisle before heading back to the Sheepmount. There we watched the runners completing the half marathon. It’s so inspiring to watch people of all shapes, sizes and ages taking part in this feat of endurance. We didn’t have too long to wait before Tristan entered the stadium, putting in a sprint finish as Erin joined him on the track and made him pick up the pace in the final few meters! He’d smashed his PB by 8 minutes despite his persistent foot injury! Awesome!
Overall, it was an epic weekend of running for the whole family and it feels brilliant that we can all enjoy such a positive hobby together. This is why I love running!